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best Singaporean foods

any body know a good Singaporean foods?

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  1. Langkawi in San Mateo.
    Layang Layang in San Jose.
    Jayakarta in Berkeley.

    If you've eaten and loved the food in Singapore, then you won't find anything closely resembling the real thing, but those places are at least decent approximations. There's no such thing as great Singaporean food around here.

    There are a number of restaurants which call themselves Singaporean / Malaysian and they serve tasty and enjoyable food, but they are nowhere near authentic.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Benny Choi

      Jayakarta, as the name suggests, is Indonesian. There have been some complaints here from people who went expecting Singapore / Malaysian food.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        you are right,Jayakarta is Indonesian,i've been there,and their food have different taste with Singaporean food.
        how about Straits at Westfield?

          1. re: headchily

            We've been to Straits once..several years ago. The dishes we had were on the sweet side in typical Americanized fashion. Haven't been back.

            Am still on the lookout for genuine Singaporean and Malay food in the Bay Area. We haven't been to any of the more highly-touted South Bay establishments.

            1. re: chilihead2006

              And Strait's has gone downhill from there.

              1. re: sgwood415

                that is because their beloved chef has opened shop elsewhere.. check out Lime Tree.

                1. re: Lori SF

                  I just went there last weekend with two discerning Malaysians, who went on a long tirade about the difference between Indonesian and Malaysian roti, which I couldn't hear because I was busy shoving food in my face. Generally thumbs up for everything, including the exceedingly friendly proprietors, with the one exception of the curry noodles.

                  1. re: Lori SF

                    A Singaporean foodie friend likes Lime Tree a lot, even though she seems to think it leans toward Indonesian. She also says the curries (but nothing else) at Penang Garden in Chinatown remind her of home.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              From what I understand, the "unofficial national dish" of Indonesia is boiled chicken and rice w/ different variations in spices and dipping sauces depending on which island or home you are on/in. In Singapore boiled chicken and rice is also a very popular dish but, w/ all the different cultures in Singapore what actually defines Singaporean food? The Chinese have the most influence obviously, but what about the Indian and the Europen influences? Anyone w/ insight? Can anyone tell me the names and describe some dishes that are "must haves"?

              1. re: adkim

                It's pretty complicated. There's Malay, Chinese, Nonya (Chinese-Malay fusion), Hindu Indian, and Muslim Indian. All of those have been influencing each other for generations, but are still somewhat distinct. The Malays' cuisine overlaps substantially with that of the culturally related Indonesians.

                At Singapore-Malaysian on Clement, my favorite dishes are roti canai (variation of Hindu Indian Malabar paratha), curry mee (Nonya), chow kway teo (Nonya), and rendang (Malay).

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Char kway teow is a Chinese dish, not Nonya.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      >There's Malay, Chinese, Nonya (Chinese-Malay fusion), Hindu Indian, and Muslim Indian<

                      Several years ago I went to Straits in SF with a friend from Malasia. I can't remember the conversation exactly, but she said that the word "Strait" or "Straits" actually referred to a specific cultural and food combination over there.

              2. Haven't been back to Prima Taste since it first opened, but here's Stanfordfoodie's post on it.
                Somewhat limited strengths, however, it might have what you're seeking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I think you've about got it right -- limited strengths. Prima Taste sells pre-mixed rempahs and other spice mixes, which are decent but certainly not as good as freshly made.

                  Banana Leaf in Milpitas is good, but it's mostly Malaysian, and on the sweet side. Wasn't impressed with Banyan Tree, but only tried a couple of of dishes.

                  My wife and I both like Shiok (sp?) in Menlo Park a lot. Haven't tried Old Town Singapore Cafe yet -- thanks for the pointer, dolcetto.

                  To me, the best aspect of Singaporean eating is the hawker food, but the it takes a lot of work to prepare. Unfortunately, it's getting harder to find good hawker food even in Singapore -- the tastiest is now at high-end hotel buffets! But that's a different story, and a bit astray for SF Bay Board.

                2. I like Banyan Tree (formerly Banyan Garden) in Union City. Best I've had in the Bay Area. See my post on it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  Also, that thread is a long post on Singaporean/Malaysian restaurants.

                  I've been wanting to try Prima Taste, too.


                  1. thanks hounds,
                    I'll try one by one maybe
                    Until I found the best
                    wish me luck

                    1. try Straits with special request,I tried once, It's work for me

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ratherdiethanread

                        Last Saturday I tried Straits's Laksa and that was a special request because it doesn't on their menu and I love it,so make a special request.

                      2. If you can make it all the way out to Old Town Singapore Cafe at the new Ulferts Center in Dublin, I dare say that it is about as authentic (whatever that means) as you can get in the Bay Area. If you're looking specifically for good Singaporean, I would definitely stay away from Indonesian restaurants. They might be neighbors but the food is quite different. Even those with the same names - like achar & rendang. Granted there are always regional differences as in Malaysia, where East Coast rendang is going to quite different from the west coast version. My other favorites for decent Malaysian food are Banyan Garden in Union City. I hear Banana Leaf in Milpitas is also very good. It all depends on what dishes you are looking for as the menu is generally very broad and various items tend to be hit or miss. That's why people in the know tend to ask about specific items like Hainanese Chicken rice, char kuay teow, nasi lemak, Asam laksa, etc. I can definitely recommend OTSC for the chicken rice - have yet to try the noodle dishes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dolcetto

                          I had a craving for Singapore food this weekend, so I went to Banana Leaf one day and then to Old Time Singapore Cafe the other day (thanks to Dolcetto for the heads up on OTSC.... the Ulferts shopping center has a Loooong ways to go before more shops open up) Both days I had laksa and I was extremely impressed with OTSC. I thought the broth for the laksa at Banana Leaf was a too watery. The broth at OTSC had extremely good texture and the noodles were quite yummy. They could have added more seafood but overall I thought it was good.

                        2. A new place just opened for Malaysian food, but it includes some chinese and Indian stuff too, so I guess that qualifies it as Singapore style. I am not familiar with Singapore dishes, so someone who is, should try it and report back.

                          Called V2, on Bryant near 3rd Street in SOMA.


                          1. I had a quick lunch at V2 last week, my office is right across the street. It's certainly MUCH better than the nasty Chinese joint that was in that location before. Looks like they're still finding their footing (they only opened a couple weeks ago), but it was clean and the service was charming. I had a nice green curry that was a little cumin heavy, and my coworker had something that looked like beef and broccoli. No booze license yet. I'll check it out again and report back in more detail.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                I had a quick lunch there today at 12:00. It was mostly full, and busy for the one waitress and cook, who did double duty busing when the lunch rush ended.

                                Malayasian/Singaporean/Indonesian cuisine in NorCal has typically disappointed me, likely for having eaten many good things in all three countries with great happiness.

                                Skipping the lunch specials, even though they seemed a good deal, I instead chose the fried rice noodle with shrimp and chinese sausage that was pictured in the window. I forget what it was called on the menu, but it's a favorite of mine.

                                Unfortunately, it was merely ok, worse so because it cost $8.50!

                                The wide noodles were too soft for my taste, and despite asking for spicy, there wasn't much heat until I added the chili sauce. The 5-6 shrimp were plump and nicely cooked, but the scarcity of chinese sausage disappointed me. It became better when I asked for lime and used chili sauce from the counter. I also would have liked more green onion, and less bean sprouts.

                                However, this restaurant felt like it has potential; I'll go back to try other dishes, particularly Roti Prata.

                                1. re: David Wishart

                                  David, thanks for the update. I hear you on how disappointing our local renditions can be. As a strategy, I almost order roti, as even when frozen is used, they're still worth eating.

                                  Reminds me that one of the best dishes at the Chowing with the Hounds picnic in 2001 (the first year) was Mee Siam, especially because it was such a chilly day in GGPark. This year we're moving to Tilden and hopefully better weather. Hope we have some good Southeast Asian home cooks on hand too!

                                  Chowing with the Hounds Picnic - sign up today!

                                  1. re: David Wishart

                                    V2 is nore more and has been replaced by a Thai place. I saw a sign announcing grand opening, et al.

                              2. A new addition to the short list:

                                Kopitiam Restaurant
                                3647 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549